Mar 8, 2013

ICTs are not synonymous with knowledge society and woman is not synonymous with gender

By Gloria Bonder, Director, Gender, Society and Policies Area, FLACSO Argentina

Women, in Latin America and in most regions, are a minority in technology production, and this is one of the most significant digital gender divides. The research we have carried out from the UNESCO Chair in Women, Science and Technology in Latin America confirms this. However, the results enable us to state that gender inequalities in this field do not only concentrate on this issue. Age, ethnicity, educational and socio-economic level and area of residence (urban/rural) are some of the determinants that have a significant influence on the construction of this techno-cultural environment.

Only an uninformed view would lead us to state that the first step has to be increasing the number of women in technological production. Looking more closely, we realize that change does not start there.

«Creating technology with gender awareness is a first step towards a society that is more receptive to both women and men's ways of thinking and innovating»

Encouraging the interest of more women in technology careers, reversing the stereotypes that associate ICTs with the male world, promoting the full participation of women in technology-based enterprises and encouraging strategic appropriation of ICTs by both women and men, are some of the links of this chain that must be strengthened.

Having (more) women in technological production does not ensure an information/knowledge society that is more inclusive, diverse and attentive to their needs, desires and interests. However, if the person who creates technology (either male or female) does so with gender awareness, we will have taken a first step in overcoming inequalities, and in the construction of an information/knowledge society that is more receptive to everyone's ways of thinking, innovating and transforming, both men and women.

If Steve Jobs had been a woman, perhaps the only difference would be the Apple logo.

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